Okinawa is completely different from the rest of Japan and is the southernmost part of the country, made up of a group of islands that enjoy a subtropical climate meaning that you can enjoy the beach at pretty much any time of year. If you are looking for some sun and surf than don’t miss the chance to visit this part of Japan which will make you forget about bigger cities like Tokyo and Osaka.
The largest of the islands in Okinawa, Okinawa Honto was a strategic location during the Second World War and there is still an American military base here. As such you can see United States Air force planes flying past as part of military drills but don’t worry as this is not cause for alarm. The capital of Okinawa Honto is Naha although there is not a huge amount to recommend this area other than to use as a base to explore some of the smaller islands that lie close to Okinawa Honto such as the Kerama Islands and small and picturesque Kume-jima.
Locals will tell you that the Miyako islands are some of the most beautiful in all of Okinawa and most people come here for the stunning beaches. It is an easy ferry ride from Okinawa Honto and expect pristine white sand and a range of watersports like diving and snorkeling in the azure waters.
A firm favorite with many travelers, the Yaeyama islands are one of the best places to come if you like diving and want clear waters with a wealth of aquatic life. The islands are easily accessible by ferry which means that you can island hop around and go where the mood takes you, and each island in this archipelago has its own distinctive atmosphere that makes it unique.
Many travelers don’t take the time to venture to Okinawa, preferring instead to stick to the well travelled path of big cities like Tokyo or Osaka, but these islands represent a completely different change of pace and atmosphere to the rest of Japan. You may not immediately imagine beaches and diving when you think of Japan, but a trip to Okinawa may just change your mind.